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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Freaque wave injuries on a Whale Watching boat

Some reports say it was a monster wave, some say giant wave, of course some say rogue wave as this one reported by Boston Globe's Jenna Duncan:

Five people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including one person who had a possible broken leg, after a rogue wave hit a whale watch boat off of Cape Cod this morning, authorities said.

At 10:23 a.m., the Coast Guard received notification from the Barnstable-based vessel Whale Watcher that a rogue wave between 5 and 7 feet had hit the boat, Coast Guard spokesperson Connie Terrell said.

The wave came up the bow of the 106-foot-long boat where a group of people was standing. The boat was five miles north of Race Point in Provincetown, Terrell said.

The boat docked in Provincetown and the injured were transported from MacMillan Wharf to Cape Cod Hospital by firefighters, said Police Officer Glenn Enos.

Police received the call at 10:36 a.m. from the Coast Guard reporting the incident, Enos said.

What ever it was reported, it was clearly unexpected -- so it was most likely a freaque wave without resorting to any definitions. Now what can be more safer than on a well established Whale Watching boat? But still it is not immune from freaque wave encounters. Now what can science say to the injured young people? Probably nothing more than "Better luck next time!" or something like that. What else? Scientists have more important stuffs to do research on, a few whale watching injuries? It is gratifying to see it is being reported in the first place.

There are at least three strikes against doing research on nearshore or offshore freaque waves: it is too complicated to be measured by standard instruments or can be easily amenable by tractable formulations, and it is generally not important enough to warrant attention of the politicians. Science can sent people to the moon and beyond, but can't tell where, when, how, or why the next freaque wave is going to be encountered!

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